Bear fight caught on video

A wild scene was recently caught on camera in Northern B.C.

Cari McGillivray was driving on Highway 37A between Stewart B.C. and the Meziadin Junction when she came upon two grizzly bears who clearly were having some type of disagreement.

McGillivray captured video of the giant bears growling at each other, before coming to blows, right on the highway.

One of the beefing bears ends up tackling the other off the road and into the bushes, before they part ways, running in the direction of McGillivray.

To add to the wildness of the encounter, a wolf can be seen a ways down the road, watching the altercation go down.

“This was by far one of my favourite wildlife encounters I have ever had,” McGillivray posted to Facebook.

The video, posted Friday, has been viewed more than 69,000 times as of Saturday afternoon.

Murder trial comes to close

A father accused of murdering his two daughters has told his trial a "yarn" about the day the girls were killed, a Crown attorney argued Friday.

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments in the B.C. Supreme Court that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters on Christmas Day in 2017 in Oak Bay, near Victoria.

As Christmas Day loomed, Berry was "so destitute he didn't even have food for the girls" and he had no one he could turn to for help, Weir told the jury.

Berry has testified that he owed thousands of dollars to a loan shark named Paul and that he was attacked in his apartment by a "dark haired, dark skinned" man on the day of his daughters' deaths.

He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of four-year-old Aubrey Berry and six-year-old Chloe Berry.

In his testimony, Berry told the jury that two henchmen connected to the loan shark visited his apartment and stored a bag of drugs there in the months before the attack on Christmas Day.

Weir said Berry's testimony was "like the plot from a bad low-budget movie."

"Like everything in his life, he wouldn't accept his responsibility," he said. "There was no Paul ... no dark-skinned child murderer... ."

Weir alleged Berry's "entire story of Christmas Day is a lie."

"It's self-serving, illogical and at some points defies the laws of physics," he said. "Ladies and gentlemen, this attack simply didn't happen."

How is it that Berry could remember a doctor's exact words when he was in the hospital after he says he was stabbed but cannot provide more than a "generic" description of Paul than "tall, Chinese, and in his 50s," Weir asked.

"He has no explanation of things that cry out for explanation," Weir told the jury. "Andrew Berry's evidence is selective and it's self-serving."

Weir said evidence presented during the trial showed the father tried to kill himself after killing his daughters, but "in the end, Mr. Berry was destined to survive this nightmare he created."

When Weir cross-examined Berry, he suggested the accused had stopped opening mail, paying bills and ignored a Christmas invitation from his sister in 2017 because he had decided to end his life.

Berry denied he was planning to kill himself.

"He cannot be believed, and his evidence cannot raise a reasonable doubt. His story has conflicts at every turn," Weir said.

It is an "elaborate yarn," he said.

The only person who knows what happened on that Christmas Day in 2017 is Berry, Weir told the court.

But the only reasonable conclusion is that "Berry took the lives of his girls," he said.

Weir said the motive for the murders was Berry's "long-simmering animosity" towards his estranged wife, Sarah Cotton.

Berry believed she wanted to get him out of their daughters' lives, he said.

Weir said Berry believed he would lose custody of the girls after that Christmas.

"If he couldn't have them, Sarah couldn't either," he told the jury.

Charged after senseless act

Following a hit-and-run that took place in Victoria on July 15, a Victoria man is now facing four charges related to the incident. 

University of Victoria student Aisha Strange was stopped on her moped when she was struck by a Dodge Caravan at the intersection of McKenzie Avenue and Shelbourne Street, CTV News reports.

Aisha is currently in a medically-induced coma as a result of her injuries.

The alleged drunk driver fled the scene in his vehicle and collided with multiple parked vehicles and a telephone pole, before attempting to escape on foot.

The driver was quickly apprehended by police while Strange was taken to hospital suffering from critical injuries.

Strange was placed into a medically induced coma one day later.

"Aisha suffered multiple broken bones and a traumatic brain injury that will impact her short and long-term future in unknowable ways," Strange's aunt Sue Nicholls told CTV News.

"Aisha is a kind and generous person, who delights in adding humour and joy to the people around her. She’s a daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin and friend to so many people that love her dearly. The community of people that Aisha touches in such positive ways are all suffering from this senseless act," the statement reads.

Police have identified the driver of the Dodge Caravan as Drake Reyens, who has been charged with impaired driving, dangerous driving, operating a vehicle with over .08 alcohol and recklessly leaving the scene of a collision, all causing bodily harm. 

It is expected that Reyens will appear in court again, that date has not yet been determined.


-With files from CTV News


Historic deal for First Nation

A First Nation has signed an agreement that will return over 3,000 hectares of land after it has been in treaty negotiations for more than two decades.

The land on the east coast of Vancouver Island will be returned to the We Wai Kai Nation, which has about 1,150 members in the Campbell River and Quadra Island areas.

The land that is being returned under the incremental treaty agreement is on its territory around Campbell Lake.

Chief Brian Assu says the First Nation is building a forestry industry and owning and managing private land is important as it develops its economy.

The We Wai Kai and federal and provincial governments moved to the fifth stage of the six stage treaty process last month.

The federal and provincial governments announced earlier this year that Aboriginal rights could not be extinguished or surrendered in the treaty process.

Millions of dollars in expenses and loans accumulated by First Nations in the treaty process were also forgiven.

Charges stayed against cop

Assault and obstruction charges against an Alberta Mountie have been stayed in B.C.

The prosecution service says charges against Const. Vernon Hagen were stayed on Sept. 11.

It says in a statement the stay was entered after the Crown confirmed that Hagen had successfully completed an approved alternative measures program that he was referred to in June.

The RCMP said in March that Hagen was accused of assault causing bodily harm and obstruction of a peace officer during an alleged off-duty incident in Whistler on Jan. 28.

An overview of the alternatives measures program on the B.C. government website says it is used when it is not necessary or beneficial to prosecute a person accused of committing a crime.

WorkSafe hits Site C builder

The main civil works contractor for the Site C dam has been fined more than $662,000 — the largest fine possible — by WorkSafeBC after a worker received an electrical shock. 

Peace River Hydro Partners Construction Ltd. was penalized after a worker accessed a main circuit breaker in a high-voltage electrical cabinet on the firm’s tunnelling equipment, according to a WorkSafeBC summary online.

“WorkSafeBC inspected the site and observed that the main electrical breaker extensions on the exterior cabinet door were not functioning, the de-energization switches had been circumvented, and the main breaker switch-box isolation covers were in disrepair,” the summary states. 

WorkSafeBC says a stop-use order was issued for the equipment after the incident, as investigators determined workers were frequently accessing the main circuit breaker without following lockout procedures.

“The firm failed to ensure its equipment was capable of safely performing its functions, and failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety,’ WorkSafeBC continued. 

The $662,102.48 penalty was imposed on August 21. The figure is the largest penalty WorkSafeBC can hand out this year, under legislation. 

The summary did not indicate the condition of the worker or date the actual incident occurred.

Water extraction opposed

Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors have taken a unanimous stand against commercial water extraction in rural Golden.

The CSRD is developing a policy opposing the extraction of fresh water for commercial bottled water sales following an application in the Town of Golden for a water bottling facility.

The application sparked concern among residents.

Electoral Area A director Karen Cathcart says it was important to protect the health of watersheds in the area, especially in light of difficulties with access to quality water sources and water contamination.

Cathcart noted that while the recent application is within the Town of Golden, she believes it will only be a matter of time before a similar application could be made in Electoral Area A.

“Before that happens, I think we need to be sending a clear message to the province that we do not support this,” she said, noting there is a groundswell of support among residents in the Golden area to preserve and protect their natural water resources.

The province has jurisdiction over water extraction, but directors felt a policy against extraction for commercial bottled water sales would send a strong message that the area is not in support.

“Although we don’t have control, this also sends a message to our constituents that we support their concerns,” said board chair Rhona Martin.

Promises to break promises

Gordon Jeffrey is a typical 32-year-old Whistler resident. When he’s not working as a waiter, he can be found skiing, biking, playing music or with his dog – but this candidate won’t be found door-knocking during his campaign for the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country Member of Parliament.

“I don’t like to bother people, and I don’t like to be bothered, so the idea of knocking on random people’s doors is abhorrent to me,” he says. “I’m counting on the constituents to appreciate that. I also won't be sending any junk mail. That annoys the bejesus out of me when some party sends me a leaflet with all their new fake promises that they're not going to keep.” 

While Jeffrey says he’s always had an interest in politics, he didn’t expect to get involved on the federal level. He said he has always admired the Rhinoceros Party, and when he saw it was resurrected, he got in touch.

Founded in 1963, the Rhinoceros Party “has always sought to make Canadians laugh while laughing at politicians,” the party’s website reads. To date, a member of the party has never been elected.

“Our main promise is that we promise not to keep any of our promises, which used to be a lot more amusing,” Jeffrey said. “That used to be the thing to set us apart from the other parties, but now we’re just the only ones who are up front about it.” 

As for Jeffrey, he’s also full of jokes – rollercoasters will become a mode of public transit in cities, his idea for a Super Mario Pipeline will fill the gap left behind by Greyhound – but gets serious when talking about strategic voting.

“Basically, I felt pretty disillusioned with our major political parties,” Jeffrey said. “There’s not a single party that represents my views. I really don’t like the idea of strategically voting. It seems like, for my entire life, everybody’s just been trying to vote for the lesser of two evils, and I’m tired of voting for evil. I think politics in Canada have become somewhat of a farce, and that the only logical thing to do is to spearhead the Rhinos.”

Trucker chain-up fines jump

The provincial government has announced increased fines for commercial truckers caught without chains this winter on B.C. highways. 

Truckers will now face a $196 fine for not carrying chains and a $596 penalty for not installing them during mandatory chain ups. That’s a significant increase from the base-level fine of $121 for both violations during previous winters. 

The new penalties go into effect Oct. 1, when winter tire and chain-up regulations begin on most B.C. highways.

The stricter fines are in support of increased chain-up regulations brought in last November. The new penalties were not implemented at the time to provide industry time to adjust. The new rules require a wider variety, and lighter, commercial vehicles to use chains. 

During winter 2018-19, there were 10 extended closures on the Coquihalla, nine of which involved commercial vehicles.

Smart meter case tossed

B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a complaint against BC Hydro and its "smart meters" from a woman who alleges it disrupts her sleep apnea machine and puts her at risk due to metal in her body.

Evelyn Pinkerton’s condition requires her to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help her breathe while she sleeps.

And, she said in her complaint, she has “a considerable amount of metal” in her body, which she says makes her more vulnerable to being an “electromagnetic conductor.”

“I find those risks are too remote to constitute an adverse impact within the meaning of human rights laws,” tribunal member Devyn Cousineau said in a Sept. 18 decision. “I dismiss the complaint on the basis that it has no reasonable prospect of success.”

Pinkerton alleged the provincial power utility discriminated against her by forcing her to have a smart meter.

She said the meters could impact her in four ways.

First, she said they produce “very short, very high intensity emissions” of electricity she referred to as “dirty electricity.” She said combined with similar “dirty electricity” from other appliances in her home, the meter creates “a probability of excessive voltage which can interfere with electric and electronic equipment in the home.”

Pinkerton called it impossible to prove which device would be damaged.

Second, Pinkerton alleged, meters could be subject to power surges that could flow into her home and burn out wiring and appliances.

Analog meters are not susceptible to this as they are grounded, she said.

Third, she said, the meters do not fit properly into their bases, causing a threat of arcing, which could melt the meter and disrupt the flow of energy thus jeopardizing the CPAP machine’s operation.

And, fourth, Pinkerton alleged the meters could enable hacking, giving attackers the ability to “cause house fires, explosions or even a widespread blackout.”

Cousineau called Pinkerton’s allegation speculative: “None of the harms have materialized yet.”

“Ms. Pinkerton must point to some evidence capable of raising her complaint out of the realm of conjecture,” Cousineau said.

Another rabid bat found

For the second time in less than a month, a dead rabies-infected bat has been found near an elementary school in Saanich.

Island Health confirmed Thursday that a bat discovered on the grounds of Frank Hobbs Elementary on Sept. 11 has tested positive for rabies.

In a note to parents and staff, Dr. Dee Hoyano, a medical health officer, said the bat was found during the lunch recess near the garbage and compost-bin area. School staff were alerted and the bat was promptly removed, she said.

“To the best of our knowledge, no student or staff had direct unprotected contact with the bat,” said Hoyano, noting that such contact would involve touching or picking up the bat with bare hands.

She advised immediately contacting the Island Health Communicable Disease program if any child or adult report direct contact with a bat on the school grounds.

The authority also asked parents to remind children never to disturb or interact directly with bats or other wildlife of any kind.

“Children should not touch, poke, or pick up a bat,” Hoyano said.

Last week, Island Health confirmed that a rabies-infected bat was discovered in bushes near Keating Elementary School in Central Saanich on Sept. 4.

The bat was found off the school grounds near portables leased by an after-school contractor.

Horgan to talk deadly road

Premier John Horgan is expected to meet with Indigenous leaders on Vancouver Island next week to discuss the state of a treacherous logging road where two students died in a bus crash.

Horgan says he will meet with members of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations on Tuesday.

Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis says his nation has long been seeking upgrades to the privately owned gravel road that is the only vehicle access between Port Alberni and Huu-ay-aht communities in Bamfield.

The route is also the only one to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre — the destination of a bus carrying 45 University of Victoria students that crashed last Friday, killing two passengers.

B.C.'s Forest Safety Ombudsman called on the province to upgrade the logging road in 2008, noting the importance of the route not just for logging but to communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

As those discussions continue, University of Victoria vice-president of finance and operations Gayle Gorrill confirms another student trip to the Bamfield centre will go ahead next month.

Gorrill said the centre is "a world-class teaching and research facility that provides our students with incredible opportunities to learn and study," and there are no plans to cancel the late October field trip.

The Sept. 13 crash killed an 18-year-old Winnipeg woman, Emma Machado, along with a student from Iowa, John Geerdes.

RCMP and Transport Canada continue to investigate.

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